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Are Gaming Laptops Worth it? Get The Best Tips Out There

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With decent gaming laptops now costing more than $2000, one might wonder; is it even worth it? Gaming laptops are not your only choice when it comes to gaming. There are cheaper options on the market that offer upgradability and better value for your money than a $2000 gaming laptop. 

A Desktop Gaming PC, Gaming Console, etc., cost less than a Gaming laptop. But, it isn’t that simple. Gaming Laptops offer a lot that these other devices can’t. The versatility, portability and the finesse of gaming laptops are unbeatable. Today, we’re answering the question; Are gaming laptops worth it? So sit back and take a look at we’ve planned for you:

To understand if they’re worth it or not, we should first get into what exactly are these machines and what sets them apart from ordinary laptops

Introduction to Gaming Laptops

The name of the game is ‘fancy’. Gaming Laptops are high performing laptops that are enclosed in a premium shell that screams money. Everything is sort of; Turnt up. Your Processor, RAM, and most importantly; the GPU, are really powerful. Comparing these masterpieces with ordinary laptops is unfair, but for the sake of the article, let’s get into it. 

What sets them apart

So, ‘normal’ laptops are built for basic everyday tasks; your Microsoft Office, Basic Software, Entertainment and things like that. You can do all these things without any issues and they’ll probably last you a full day of office work. But, as soon as you require even a little bit of gaming from these things, they just fail. And that’s where Gaming Laptops come in. 

Purpose built laptops with high performance specs and with everything turnt up a notch! CPU, GPU, RAM, and even the Display are tweaked to perform their best. Of course that does mean terrible battery life but that’s something you’ll have to deal with if you’re a laptop gamer. Not only are they incredible performers, but they look bonkers too! With eccentric design languages, angular cuts, and aluminum chassis; laptops like the Alienware M17 look amazing. That does mean they’re heavier than usual and most of them are hard to carry around in your backpack. So, to round it up, here’s exactly what sets these two machines apart:

Specs‘Normal’ LaptopGaming Laptop
CPUIntel i7 or i9 at 2.5 GHz Or AMD Ryzen 7 or 9 at 3 GHzIntel i9 running at 4.8 GHz Or AMD Ryzen 9 at 5 GHz
RAM8 GB DDR416 – 32 GB DDR4
GPUIntegrated Intel IrisXe Or AMD Radeon GraphicsDedicated NVIDIA RTX 3070 or 3080 with 8 GB GDDR6 VRAM
Screen13 – 17 inch FHD 60 Hz 15 and 17 inch QHD 165 Hz to 360 Hz
Battery Life12 + HoursMax 6 Hours
WeightAround 6 to 7 lbsAround 2.5 to 3.5 lbs
PriceRanges from $700 – $1000Ranges from $2000 to $3800 depending on the config

Hopefully, now you know exactly what gaming laptops are and what sets these things apart from normal laptops. Let’s get into what you should expecting for this crazy price tag:

Do You Know?You can simply convert any conventional office based laptop to a proper dedicated gaming laptop just by connecting an eGPU to your normal laptop.

What to expect from a Gaming Laptop?

The main thing to expect from these things is the performance they can offer. The Performance Triangle includes things like CPU, GPU and RAM. But, that’s not all the $2000 tag will get you, stick around and find out:

CPU

For $2000, you should expect the latest and the greatest from Intel or AMD in your gaming laptop. Without a powerful CPU in your arsenal, you don’t just get terrible value for your money, but you can’t even game properly. Most modern AAA titles require some pretty beefy CPUs. The minimum system requirements start from Quad Core 3 GHz processors. 

So, it stands to reason that a gaming laptop has to have a powerful CPU. If you’re spending this much on a laptop, you can expect a minimum of Intel Core i7 11th generation with turbo boost, or a Ryzen 7 5800H from AMD. Anything below these two are not even worth considering. Not only will you get terrible gameplay, but you’ll also be overpaying!

GPU

To run AAA games, you need a proper Graphics Card. Without it you’re probably not going to be able to run, well anything. A dedicated GPU with at least 6 gigs of GDDR6 VRAM is what you should be expecting for your money. You’ll probably get away with a 4 GB VRAM, but modern AAA titles will struggle to run on max settings and without bottlenecking your gaming laptop. 

So, expect the latest and the greatest from NVIDIA. Their RTX 3060, 3070 and 3080 will do just fine. Anything with an older GPU than these, needs to be axed! It just isn’t worth spending two grand on.

RAM

Most AAA titles in 2022 require a minimum of 8 GB DDR4 RAM. So, naturally you need to have one with a bit more capacity. If you go for, say 8 GB, and try to run a AAA title like the Forza Horizon 4, you’ll end up jamming up your system and your background processes will not have any room to run. 

To play games in 2022, you at least need 16 GB RAM. Anything below 16 needs to be ignored for this price tag. Laptops offer a lot of configurations and you can opt for a bigger RAM for a bit more money, we recommend doing just that. This will also future proof your laptop! That does it for the performance, but that isn’t all a $2000 + gaming laptop should offer

Display

To experience your game’s modern graphics and what your GPU is capable of, you need to have a good display. A ‘Good’ display means that your panel has to have a high resolution display with a solid screen refresh rate. A high resolution is what’ll help you experience sharp images and colors that your GPU is putting out. And a good refresh rate will provide you a buttery smooth gameplay. 

Without a proper screen, you can’t really experience that expensive GPU and what the world of modern graphics has to offer. For a price tag this steep, you can expect a Quad-HD screen that puts out 2560 x 1440 resolution and a 165 Hz, or more, refresh rate. The screen size is really just a personal choice. The most common screen size for these rigs is 15.6” and that’s a really balanced size. But, they can go up to like 17.3” or more, it just depends on what you want. 

Body/Design

When you’re spending this much on a piece of tech, you obviously want it to look cool, feel premium and just have a sci-fi design language. Luckily, manufacturers know what you want. Laptops like the MSI GE76 Raider, Lenovo Legion 7 and the Alienware M17 look and feel incredible! But, this craziness does come at a cost, both literally and figuratively. Firstly, they’re quite heavy. 

Even though modern gaming laptops are getting slimmer and lighter, they still are a hassle to carry. They have a huge footprint and are difficult to fit into a backpack. The reason these things are so big is because of those massive display panels they have to fit, and all that firepower under that beautiful chassis. So, you’ll have to make a compromise between portability or performance.

A gaming laptop is not the only thing you can game on, there are other options on the market. Have a look:

Alternatives to a Gaming Laptop

Gaming PC

If you don’t want portability or just don’t carry your gaming rig with you, a Gaming PC is an excellent choice for you. And, a worthy alternative to a gaming laptop. Gaming PCs are built for gaming. They scream performance and upgradability. And that’s a big advantage these things have over laptops; they’re completely modular and you swap stuff out and upgrade for better ones. The GPU, RAM, CPU, Power Supply, Motherboard, literally everything is upgradable. 

Unlike gaming laptops where everything’s soldered and the only thing you can swap out is RAM. Given their large cases, they are much more efficient in dissipating heat away from the system and drawing in fresh air from their massive intakes. There’s so much configurability in these rigs that you can build a gaming PC that exactly suits your needs. And have we mentioned that they’re cheaper than those $2000 + gaming laptops? 

Even an Alienware Desktop Gaming PC; the Alienware Aurora R13 costs $1400, and that thing is loaded! With an Intel Core i9 12900K running at 3.2 GHz. A Desktop RTX 3090, 64 GB RAM, 3 TB of combined storage, this thing is outright crazy! If you buy the gaming laptop equivalent of the Aurora 13, it can cost around $4000, oh and it won’t even have RTX-3090

And that’s another thing about these PCs, the latest stuff comes out for Desktops first, and then trickles down to Laptops. But of course, there are drawbacks. You can’t carry it with you, they take up too much space, you need to buy peripherals with it, and no battery backup in case of electrical failure. 

So, if you’re leaning towards prebuilt Gaming PCs, here are some options:

Model/SpecsHP Omen 30LAlienware Aurora 13MSI MEG Aegis Ti5
CPUIntel 10th Generation i9-10900K at 3.7 GHzIntel 12th Generation i9-12900K at 3.2 GHzIntel 10th Generation i9-10900K at 3.7 GHz
GPURTX 3080RTX 3090RTX 3080
RAM32 GB DDR464 GB DDR432 GB DDR4
Storage1 TB + 2 TB1 TB + 2 TB1 TB + 2 TB
Buy Now!Product PageProduct PageProduct Page

Gaming Consoles

Another alternative to gaming laptops are gaming consoles. Consoles like the PlayStations and Xbox are purpose built for gaming. You can’t really do anything other than playing games. PlayStation from Sony and Xbox from Microsoft have been the gold standards of this world and they don’t seem to be backing down anytime soon. Gaming Consoles offer Desktop grade performance but without the versatility and the upgradability. 

You would again need peripherals like a monitor and controllers to make it work, so it’s similar to a desktop, physically speaking. The latest PlayStation right now is the PS5, the PlayStation 5 costs around $900. So, compared to a gaming laptop, it is waaay cheaper. 

From Microsoft, you get the latest Xbox X series, which too costs under $1000. You will of course have to buy games and memberships for these consoles to connect and play with your friends. So, now that we’ve introduced to Gaming laptops and their alternatives in detail, let’s go over why we think you should prefer gaming laptops:

Reasons why Gaming Laptops are worth it

Portability

You might have seen this coming. But, Portability is super important nevertheless. You can carry your work and gaming anywhere you go. If you like to travel, gaming laptops are perfect for you. And it isn’t just travel it’s good at, it takes like no space. You can put them anywhere you want. You can take your gaming rig to your office to do some work, and then put that thing in your backpack and take it home to play, cool right? Portability is a major concern for most people, imagine not having to deal with connecting tons of different peripherals, when you can have it all in one package. So, the number one reason that gaming laptops are worth it, is their Portability

Versatility

Gaming laptops can do a lot of stuff. Much more than consoles. You can game, work, edit videos, and literally anything else you want to do. They’re fully capable Windows machines and they have the performance to make anything work. If they can run games like GTA V and Witcher 3, they’re pretty much capable of handling anything you want to throw at it. And at the end of the day they’re essentially just laptops; you can use them for whatever your day requires.

The Style

When you’re paying a better part of two grand for a laptop, manufacturers make sure that their products look and feel incredible. They’re futuristic, eccentric, and just downright crazy looking! Not only can these things walk the walk, but they can also talk the talk. Their build quality is also solid. Manufacturers like Alienware from Dell and MSI, ensure that they use the best materials they can in their laptops. So, another reason to go for gaming laptops is that they just look good.

We’re here to make debate on whether gaming laptops are worth it or not, and for that, we need to present the drawbacks as well, here goes:

Why gaming laptops aren’t worth it

The Price Tag

There’s just no other way to say this, but these things cost way too much! Although they justify their shocking price tags with premium build quality and immense performance figures, at the end of the day it’s still just a laptop. Paying $3000 for a decent gaming laptop is not everyone’s cup of tea. 

So, a massive reason these things are not worth it, is the steep prices. The MSI GS76 with all it’s bells and whistles ticked in the options box, costs $3946! That is crazy. So, if you can deal with the price tag, and find a good deal, you should go for it. But for most, the prices are a deal breaker.

The Heat

Naturally, when you cram Desktop grade equipment into something so slim and small, components are bound to butt up against each other. This causes heat to trap inside the chassis. Even if there’s an amazing cooling system in your gaming laptop, it’ll struggle to cool your rig down. 

This makes using your gaming laptop difficult for extended periods of time and could potentially thermal throttle your CPU or GPU. Desktops dissipate heat much better than these gaming laptops with their massive fans and large cases. So, that’s another drawback these things have.

Lack of Upgradability

In such a small shell, you can’t expect the equipment to be modular. Most of the components inside a laptop are soldered to save space and make the chassis slimmer. But, that of course means you can’t upgrade your equipment. Most laptops even have their RAM soldered onto the motherboard. 

This makes it impossible to keep up with modern games and after a few years, your $2000 rig would fail to run a game after a few updates have come out. So, with all its advantages, it certainly does have some problems.

Hopefully, this helps you decide whether gaming laptops are worth it or not. In our opinion, the pros outweigh the cons, and for TechyWired, gaming laptops are worth it! If you’re like us and love gaming laptops, here are some TechyWired top gaming laptop picks for you:

Your Options for Gaming Laptops 

MSI GE76 Raider 11UH

RTX Powered Gaming Experience

  • Intel Core i9-11980HK up to 5 GHz
  • NVIDIA RTX 3080
  • 32 GB DDR4 RAM
  • 1 TB NVMe SSD
  • 17.3” FHD 360Hz
  • Price Range: $3900

Deals

Buy Now:    $3309

Alienware x17

32GB-RAM for RAM Intensive Games

  • Intel Core i9-11980HK up to 5 GHz
  • NVIDIA RTX 3080
  • 32 GB DDR4 RAM
  • 512 GB NVMe SSD
  • 17.3” 4K UHD 120Hz
  • Price Range: $3400

Deals

Buy Now:     $2949

Lenovo legion 5 Pro

AMD Ryzen Gaming Platform

  • AMD Ryzen 7 5800H
  • NVIDIA RTX 3070
  • 16 GB DDR4 RAM
  • 1 TB NVMe SSD
  • 16” QHD 165Hz
  • Price Range: $1600

Deals

Buy Now:     $1579

So, now that you’ve seen what the market is offering right now, you can select the one that suits you the best.

The Bottom Line

We hope that we answered your question about whether gaming laptops are worth it or not with this guide. But if we’re being honest, it mostly depends on what you think. If you can deal with the hefty price tag and the lack of upgradability, a gaming laptop is the best thing you could ask for. The versatility and the portability are the main selling points of these things. 

Gaming on the go is an incredible concept. And with newer technologies and engineering marvels entering the gaming laptops world, these things are expected to get even lighter and slimmer than they are. These laptops pack a lot of firepower under those slim shells, they are loaded with the latest and greatest CPUs and GPUs. Gaming Laptops can outperform consoles any day of the week. But, they might not have a chance with the big boys; Gaming PCs. 

If you can deal with having to build a gaming setup and not being able to carry your gaming rig anywhere, Gaming PCs are the way to go. At the end of the day, it’s about what you want. If you’re someone who travels and likes to game on the go; Gaming laptops are absolutely worth it!

FAQs

Are gaming laptops suitable for work?

Gaming Laptops have a lot of performance. You can, quite literally, run anything on them. They can handle any task you throw at them. So, they’re perfectly capable of handling work tasks. Just make sure you buy a slim and lightweight model so you can carry it around. 

Do gaming laptops have a bad battery life?

With all those power hungry performance components inside, gaming laptops use quite a lot of power. And if you’re running on battery power when gaming, you’re bound to have a terrible battery life. You can expect your gaming laptop to last between 5 to 6 hours under load.

Are gaming laptops loud?

Yes, some gaming laptops tend to get loud under pressure. The reason is that their fans have to work overtime and usually on full speed to drive all that heat out of the tiny shell. This results in loud fan noise. Premium laptop brands like Alienware and MSI use efficient cooling systems to reduce fan noise, but they’re still louder than ordinary laptops.

If you have any questions or suggestions for us, let us know in the comments section below. We read them all!

If you have keen interest in gaming then do check our other latest articles and blogs on gaming peripherals and devices, Feel free to share them on your social media!

Muhammad Tufail Sheikh
Tufail Sheikh leads Techywired's coverage of computing and gaming niche. He has been writing about best gaming laptops and PCs which is his passion right from the start of his career. He is a gaming geek from the early childhood and you can always find him playing video games in his favorite couch.

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